I am an LVN. Another nurse and I were fired today due to a med error. We worked in a home health setting. Both the other nurse and I contacted our agency about a medication that the patient wasn’t getting because it needed a refill. The patient didn’t have a pediatrician, and we were told by our agency to contact the cardiologist to get the med because the cardiologist was the one doing the refills. Basically the cardiologist didn’t fill the prescription because she is a cardiologist, so therefore the office told us to chart it…but in the end, the office fired us both today because the patient hadn’t taken the med over a period of time. They also reported us to the board. We are confused because we told the RNs at our agency about the need for medication, but we got fired for not telling the patient’s doctor. Mind you, there was no doctor listed beside the cardiologist and the agency officials knew this because we informed them. What do you think our options are or what should we do?
Dear Nancy replies:
You would do well to retain a nurse attorney or attorney in your state who defends nurse licensees before the board of nursing. You did not indicate if the other person fired was also an LVN or an RN, but that person will need to retain representation as well.
It is assumed that as an LVN, you were supervised by an RN. Did you inform the RN with whom you work about this situation when the cardiologist refused to write the prescription and that the cardiologist was the only doctor listed? Did you inform the nurse supervisor at the agency? The supervisor then would have been able to further intervene in the situation to get the medication the patient needed to have. You did not specify who in the office told you to chart it, but obviously this person did not have a medical background, and clearly, your obligation to obtain the order for the patient’s medication did not end with those instructions.
You must remember that as an LVN you have a continuing obligation to make sure a patient is not placed in harm’s way. Regardless of what a person may direct you to do, you need to know what the Nurse Practice Act and your standards of practice as an LVN say about this obligation and notify those who need to be notified when something like this occurs.
Hopefully your attorney will be able to highlight the agency’s mishandling of the situation (no other doctor available and the instructions just to chart it) and that mishandling may help mitigate your situation before the board.